Beginning with Analytics
Whether you are starting a new business or you have been operating for several years at this point, analytics can be seen as a daunting task. There are terms that you don’t know what they mean, or what to do with. Maybe you already use software that gives you a smidgen of information that could be useful to your shop, but you want to delve deeper. You want to know why your customers are visiting your website, what are they looking at, how long are they on that page, where are they from and much much more. Before we get started, let’s discuss why I felt the need to write this in the first place.
My Retail Experience
When I worked for a home and gift shop, we created a website for information about services as well as an e-commerce site. Sales were not great on the site, in fact they continued to drop month-after-month. No matter how many coupon codes we sent out, something was wrong. I would peruse the site as if I was a customer, trying to pinpoint what was stopping them from completing their purchase. I would ask family and friends to do the same. Their feedback would be similar to mine but some different because of our differing demographics. We knew who our customer base was, and we thought we were choosing the right way to market to them. Oh if there were only a way to be sure and have concrete data to show us what we were doing wrong. At the time, I didn’t know there was.
Most Marketing Companies Specialize
We had worked with several marketing companies for mostly website help. Most marketing companies have areas in which they specialize. I didn’t realize that not all companies incorporated the use of data to give feedback to their recommendations. The last company we used we asked for help in all areas of the business to help pull us out of the hole we were in. One company I even asked for help with understanding SEO and Google AdWords. I barely got a reply and never got the help I needed. (I suppose now that these were not areas of specialization for this company.)
My Retail Experience with Analytics
I mainly used the analytics that I could see on each social media platform individually. I also used Shopify’s analytics to see how much traffic we had coming into our website and where they were from. There were a few other things I could see, but not much insight into the WHY’S. I also, as a business professional, barely had time to pull this data quarterly, let alone monthly. My boss was always asking me why aren’t people shopping on the site? Why is no one filling out the form to get more info about interior design? I had no answers for her. I was limited in what data I had available to me, and limited in my knowledge.
Using Analytics Data For Decision-Making
Fast forward to now working for a marketing company, Jemully Media. The first task I was given was to have a better understanding of analytics and SEO and all the other terms I had no idea what they meant. (Jemully utilizes data to guide their decisions and monitor the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.) They offer a service that uses a portal to gather ALL of the data out there for a business, and you can see it in one spot. Needless to say, I was blown away. I was also angry. Angry that with all the people I had reached out to for help in the last 3 years who had not shown me this amazing world of Analytics that were available right at my fingertips. It took me about a while to understand everything I was looking at, but once I got it I found such an interest in all the data that could help a business.
So, that’s why I’m here now. To help someone better understand the data that is out there and what more data you can find if you set some goals!So what kind of data is out there? I will break it down into sections of the types that my company gathers for our clients.
What is SEO?
Definition: Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results and excludes direct traffic/visitors and the purchase of paid placement. Wikipedia
Basically this is the data that will show you how many people are going to your site, how high are you showing up in a list when someone searches for you, keywords that can be attached to your site to help people find you more easily, are you showing up on other peoples websites, and more.
Keywords are a NECESSARY thing for your website if you want people to find you.
SEO keywords (also known as “keywords” or “keyphrases”) are terms added to online content in order to improve search engine rankings for those terms. Most keywords are discovered during the keyword research process and are chosen based on a combination of search volume, competition and commercial intent. backlinko.com › hub › seo › seo-keywords
Google My Business
This platform is similar to Yelp in the sense that it is a way that your customers can find you, whether online or at your brick and mortar storefront. My company sets this up for several of our clients and it’s data can be very telling if people are even looking you up, especially when we combine this data in the portal with other data sources. Then you can get an overview of the health of your marketing campaigns.
Google My Business (and it’s knowledge panel) is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.
Google My Business stats can show you how often you are popping up in someone’s search, are they visiting your site, are they using the contact features (website, phone call, directions), reviews of your business, and views on posts you send out.
Social Network Platforms
The possibilities are almost endless here. You can view data from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Mailchimp, LinkedIn, and more.
We can track things like followers, likes, engagement, favorites, etc. One thing I think is most important to see data on for your social media is your followers compared to engagement. It can really give you the insight into if you are creating meaningful content and if you have an audience for it. What’s the point of creating content for your social pages if you are getting anyone to actually look at it.
Website Traffic & Content
So you’ve created this beautiful website, it has everything you want your potential customers to know. But what if no one is actually looking at it or maybe they are but they aren’t reaching out to you after visiting it. The amount of data you can get for your website is outstanding and will tell you the truth in numbers!
You can look at website traffic through how many page views are you getting, sessions on the site, and users. How are the visitors finding you: Google, Social platforms, referral links from other sites, direct link? One of my favorite metrics that you can get is how much time the average visitor spends on your site. Are they coming to your site and leaving right away? How long are they staying on a page at a time? What are your most popular pages? You can even track scrolling on your page to see if they are viewing the entire page or just one section. What are they clicking on? Are they filling out the form that you’ve posted for them to get more info about your services? So many things you can create as goals for yourself as a business.
What to do with all this info?
So what do you do with all this new, exciting data? You use it to find your strengths and weaknesses in your online presence for your business. You can begin to discover why things have performed in a certain way as you learn more information about your audience and their engagement. Then you can work with your marketing team to develop a whole new marketing strategy because now, you have the ability to see the big picture. Use the demographics information to create a personality for your customers, which can help determine the types of sales you will have, the types of products to carry, how to spend your marketing dollars, and so much more. Something really interesting that can be derived from these stats is psychographics.
The definition of psychographics is: “The study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria, especially in market research.” (https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/3-psychographic-gems/)
Possibilities with Data
The possibilities are endless of what this data can do for your business. You can also have the customers that visit your brick and mortar store interact with you online more by encouraging them to do so. Create a survey on your website for them to fill out, or ask them to review your shop online. Most likely once they are there, they will learn more about your business and begin to become another piece to the data puzzle for you!
Want to know more about how to view all of this data in one place? Reach out to me, Lacey Barnett, at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help your business create an all inclusive dashboard for the analytics I just highlighted. Together we can dig in to the numbers and discover some of those all important “whys.”